Manitoba box lacrosse teammates Kaylee Perry, left, and Belle Hackett show off their collection of souvenir pins Thursday at the Canada Summer Games. (Photo by Denis Cahill, special to Nunatsiaq News)

Cool Nunavut: Inuit-themed pin set is hot trading item at Summer Canada Games

‘Nunavut gear is top of the class,’ one athlete says

By Gord Howard

Everyone loves an underdog — especially one with cool commemorative pins.

Nunavut fielded the smallest team at the Canada Summer Games, but there’s big demand for the specially designed pin sets it provides to its athletes, coaches and staff.

Each province and territory does the same for its teams, and they’ve been hot trading items all week at the games, being held around Ontario’s Niagara region this week.

“The Nunavut pins are crazy,” said Jusipi Dimitruk, a 14-year-old wrestler from Cambridge Bay.

He said he heard one Ontario athlete had traded for a Nunavut pin set, then turned around and sold it for $150.

“I traded a set yesterday (to another athlete) for the Quebec track suit — the jersey, the sweater, shorts and a hat,” he said.

Dimitruk figures the rule of supply and demand also helps make Nunavut gear a hot commodity at the summer games.

While Team Nunavut has 31 athletes, plus coaches and staff, other teams are much larger. Ontario’s squad, for instance, is about 10 times the size of Nunavut’s.

“I’ve traded one set and one T-shirt, for which I’ve got a P.E.I. jacket and the whole Quebec set,” Dimitruk said. “Nunavut gear is top of the class.”

Nunavut’s commemorative pin set, shown here, includes a moveable arm showing the woman skinning a seal. (File photo)

The pins are seen as a way to get athletes to mingle with competitors from other parts of Canada. They’re meant to be collected and traded, though selling them is generally discouraged.

The metal pins are also seen as a way to showcase the homeland as a good place to visit.

Nunavut’s chef de mission, Jeff Seeteenak, from Baker Lake, agreed there has been big demand for the territory’s pins.

“Oh yes, we’re seeing it every day. Every day,” he said.

“And this is what we’re known for at these games, that we have the nicest pin sets. We’re one of the most coveted pin sets, and there is always a Nunavut theme to it.”

This year’s version was designed by Saskatchewan-based The Pin People, Laurie Artiss Ltd., an official games supplier. It comes in four pieces, and when assembled shows an Inuit woman preparing sealskin.

The arm piece is moveable, so it looks like she is really scraping the skin.

Seeteenak said each athlete was given four sets at the start of the games, then four more after a few days.

“Some of them are getting clothing, team jackets,” he said, adding he doesn’t trade his.

“I’ve been to too many games. I just give mine away, especially to the volunteers (at the games facilities). And they really appreciate that.”

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by pin collector on

    Wow, that is a beautiful pin(s)! Wish I could find a set, they’re beautiful! Now I’m also wondering about previous pins for Team Nunavut!

  2. Posted by Ellen on

    I enjoyed trading pins with the athletes at the Niagara 2022 Canada Games. It was certainly entertaining. It was a good way to have a chat with the athletes and find out about the sport they were playing and their personal bests. It was a very exciting pastime.

  3. Posted by Ally Lsdak on

    Excellent way to have an icebreaker . Ask the athlete which sport they play

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